By Nick Cahill
SACRAMENTO, (CN) — Rekindling the state’s fight against climate change after a spate of monumental wildfires have left Californians breathing ash and smoke for weeks, Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday outlawed the sale of new gas and diesel cars starting in 2035.
Newsom cast the crackdown on traditional cars and trucks as the “most impactful step” the state can take to stave off global warming. The Democratic governor pinned gasoline-powered cars as being responsible for the state’s notoriously smoggy air and said automakers will have to switch to zero-emissions models to remain in California’s lucrative market.
“You deserve to have a car that doesn’t give your kids asthma,” Newsom said. “Our cars shouldn’t make wildfires worse — and create more days filled with smoky air. Cars shouldn’t melt glaciers or raise sea levels threatening our cherished beaches and coastlines.”
The move was announced as part of a sweeping executive order that also requires commercial trucking companies to convert their fleets to zero-emissions vehicles by 2045 “where feasible.” Newsom is further tasking lawmakers to enact a ban on new hydraulic fracturing — fracking — permits by 2024 and his order sets new regulations to protect people living near active oil wells.
Wednesday’s order comes as California is locked in dozens of environmental lawsuits with the Trump administration, including a high-profile fight over the state’s ability to enact tough emissions and mileage standards.
Coming after the tool that enabled California to reduce smog for decades, the Trump administration stunned state officials and environmentalists in August 2018 when it proposed rolling back Obama-era vehicle emissions and fuel economy standards that were intended to nearly double passenger vehicle’s fuel economy and halve their carbon emissions by 2025.
With lawsuits pending in the District of Columbia, California’s longstanding ability to force automakers to produce cleaner, more efficient cars is on the ropes. But in the meantime, the state has hedged its legal battles by reaching agreements with five major automakers to continue producing cleaner and more electric cars, even if the courts side with the federal government.
This is a developing story.